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Members Area Tutorial: Creating the Photo Manipulation ‘Birth of a New Era’

Photo manipulation is a true art form and it lets you create some incredible fantasy pieces.

In today’s advanced tutorial we’re going to be creating the photo manipulation piece ‘Birth of a New Era’ which features a man gazing out over a surreal landscape with a flaming earth in a dark ocean.

You can follow along every single detail and step of creating this piece, and will master techniques such as masking, gradient maps, artificial lighting, shading, color correction and professional sharpening.

Let’s get started!

Final Image

As always, this is the final image that we’ll be creating:

Step 1 – Starting a new document

Create a new document. Go to file -> New.. and insert width :1750 pixels. Height : 1804 pixels, 300 pixels/inch as shown in the picture below.

Step 2 – Placing and editing the background

Now go to File-> place -> select the background image and click open. Now place the image as shown in the picture below.

Select the clone stamp tool (s) and try to patch the cracks of the ground (choose yes if asked to rasterize the object) and select a source point.

Now paint over the area that you want to patch

When you’re done patching the result should be similar to this.

Step 3 – Cropping the model

Open the image of the man on a separate document and choose the pen tool (p). name the layer “model” and put these parameters to the tool.

Zoom into the image of the model starting from the head and create the outline of the model with the pen tool. Lot’s of clicks will be needed here but with this method you’ll crop the model with extreme accuracy.

Keep working with the pen tool.

Almost there!

Now close the outline and we’re done with the pen tool

You can see how many clicks we did in order to create the outline of the model!

Now go to the paths palette, right click on the path layer and choose “make selection”.

When a window pops up click feather radius 0,5 pixels and click ok. This will soften the edges of the model we’re about to crop!

Go to the layers palette, double click on the locked layer and then hit ok (this will unlock the layer). Now while the selection is active click on the “add layer mask” button witch is located at the very bottom of the layers palette.

Voila!! Now our object is cropped and ready to be inserted to the project!

Step 4 – Inserting the model to the project

Now that the model is cropped we want to insert it into the project. Just select the whole layer of the model with the mask and drop it to the main project.

Now the model has been inserted.

Now go to edit -> free transform or just hit ctrl+t to resize the model and then position it to the center.

Step 5 – Editing the model

When we cropped the model we left a small detail that needs to be fixed. Choose a black colored small brush, select the mask of the model and paint that small detail on his hand to get rid of the unwanted grass we left at first place. Like this!

Move down to the models feet. We are going to add some shadow to the model now. Choose a soft brush with hardness 0% and sixe 25 pixels. Under the layer of the model create a new group and name it shadow. Now create a new layer and start painting with black under his feet like this.

When you’re done put 60% to the opacity of the layer. The result should be similar to this. See how nice the shadow we made shows up?

Now make another layer, underneath the layer of the shadow and name it shadow 2. Paint with the same brush and color like this. When you’re done put 60% to the opacity of the layer

The result should be like this

Step 6 – Adding the water ripple

Now are models fits pretty well to the outcome so far. The only thing is that the model looks like standing above the water on solid ground. Let’s change that and make the model stand into the water.

Open the image of the water ripple. Go to image-> Adjustments-> desaturate or ctr+shift+u

Select the stamp too. No choose various source points and point over the water drop until is gone.

The result should be like this.

Insert the image to our main project and place it on the feet of the model. Name this layer “water ripple”

Put the blending mode to screen. Hit ctrl+t to resize the image. Like this

Click the “add layer mask” button. Choose a soft black brush and carefully paint over the areas as shown bellow.

This is what we’ve done some far:

Step 7 – Coloring the water ripple

Select the water ripple layer and then go to Layer-> New adjustment layer-> hue/saturation. Check the box that says “use previous layer to create clipping mask” and then OK.

Enter these parameters to the adjustment layer we just created.

Now on top of the hue/saturation layer create another one with a clipping mask but this time choose “levels” and put these parameters

As you can see now the water ripple is colorized and matches perfectly with the water.

After you’re done create a new group, name it “water ripple” and drag and drop the “water ripple” layer, hue/saturation and levels inside of it.

Step 8 – Enhancing the colors of the model

Same technique as used in step 7. On top of the model add an adjustment layer “levels” and create a clipping mask.

After that and on top of the “levels” layer create a hue/saturation layer with a clipping mask too. Then just decrease the saturation amount to -50.

This is what it looks like.

Step 9 – Adding the earth

Create a new above the shadow group and name it light. Choose a nice soft brush with hardness 0% and size 350 pixels. And add a brush stroke in the center of our project.

Now set the blending mode to “soft light”

Open the psd file of the earth. Select the layer 2 +3 and hit ctrl+e to merge them.

Now move the earth into our main project and place it in the center underneath the “model” Layer. Like this.

Add a mask to the earth layer and with a new soft black brush paint the bottom of the earth until you have something like this.

Go to image-> adjustments -> hue/saturation ctrl+U and decrease the saturation amount to -70

Now click the FX button in the bottom of the layers palette and choose inner glow.

Enter these parameters:

The result should be similar to this:

Step 10 – Adding the water splashes

Create a new group and call it “water splash” and place it under the “water ripple” group we created before. Load the file “Water_Brushes_Sampler” and choose the brush 1548 and a size of 765 pixels.

Now with a white color selected add a water splash… like this.

Choose the brush 1383 with a size of 453 pixels and add another splash… like this

Choose the brush 785 and a size of 350 pixels and add another splash… like this

Vhoose the brush 533 and a size of 310 pixels and add a water splash here.

Now hit ctrl + t and rotate the splash like this.

When you are done, duplicate the layer of the splash hit ctrl+t again -> right click -> flip horizontal and place it here !

Now add a layer mask to the splashes that we placed in the left and right of the earth. Select a soft black brush and soften the edges… like this!

The result should be like this:

Step 11 – Adding flames to the earth

Open the picture of the fire.

Move the fire to our main project and place it above the “Earth Layer”. Hit ctrl+t rotate it a little bit and place it somewhere here.

Now set the blending mode to “screen”.

Now create a clipping mask between the fire and the earth. This is what it looks like.

Next, create a new group under the “earth” layer and name it “flames”. Now open the flame image.

Move it to our main project, hit ctrl + t to resize and place it somewhere here.

Now duplicate flame layer, then hit ctrl + t again -> right click -> Flip horizontal and place the flame somewhere here.

This is what we’ve done so far.

Step 12 – Adding bonfire

Create a new group and name it “bonfire”. Now open the image of the bonfire

Move the image to our main project. Hit ctrl+t to rotate and transform it and place it somewhere here.

Now set the blending mode to “screen”:

Add a layer mask and with a black soft brush erase the areas that we don’t want to show up.

Now duplicate the bonfire layer, then hit ctrl + t again -> right click -> Flip horizontal and place it somewhere here.

Now duplicate the bonfire group, place it above the earth layer and rename it to “bonfire 2”. After you’re done this is how it will look like but don’t worry we will fix that.

All that we have to do now is scale down, reposition the fires and place them left and right of the earth. Like this!

Scale down the other fire as well and place somewhere here.

Now with a soft black brush mask these areas.

After you’re done the result should be similar to this

Step 13 – Adding elements

Open the “Media_Militia_Particles004” image.

Move it to our main project, place it underneath the earth layer and name it “particles”. Hit ctrl+t to scale down the image and place it somewhere here. And set the blending mode to “soft light”

Same procedure now open the texture_7_Snowing image move it to our main project, scale it down, set opacity to 40% and place it somewhere here.

Now set the blending mode to “screen”

Now add a layer mask and with a black soft brush erase these areas.

Result.

Step 14 – Adding gradient maps

Go to Layer-> New adjustment layer -> gradient map. Name this layer gradient map 1. Click on the gradient map, select the black and white from the presets and then on the little black arrow. Do exactly as you see in the picture below.

Set as color 4a421f in the box and click OK.

Then se the blending mode of the gradient map layer to “soft Light.

Select the mask of the gradient map layer and with a soft black brush erase this area.

The result should be similar to this

Now create another gradient map layer and name it “gradient map 2”. The procedure is the same, we are just going to use a different color and mask a different area. Click on the gradient mask again and put as color 2d5e61 in the box.

When you’re done put the blending mode to “soft light”, select the gradient mask and with a sof t black brush mask this area.

Result.

Step 15 – Final touch

Create a new layer at the very top of the layers palette and name it vignette. Select a nice soft and big black brush and start painting around the layer like this

When you’re done set the opacity of the layer to 70%. The result should be similar to this.

Now go to select -> all layers. You will notice that all our layers are now selected.

Now go to layer-> duplicate layers -> click ok to the window that pop’s up and the hit ctrl+e to merge the layers. You will notice that all our layers are now merged into one. Rename the merged layer to “sharpen”

Now go to filter -> sharpen -> unsharp mask and add these parameters. When you’re done hit ok!

And We’re Done!

You can view the final outcome below. I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial and would love to hear your feedback on the techniques used.

Member File Download

Download the original .psd file for this tutorial here:

DOWNLOAD .PSD FILE

Leave a comment

9 Comments:

  1. Herman Askew says:

    this one was a little challenging for me but I did it…thanks Herman

  2. Jeanne Draachreider says:

    I loved this tutorial. I sailed right through it with ease. I especially appreciated that you used so many images to show how each new setting would look. Great tutorial. I learned a few new things with this one. :)

  3. Grant Goss says:

    This tutorial was great. I look forward to more, much more.
    Thank you!

  4. Henk Rensenbrink says:

    Well here is my end result.
    Because I changed the model into my own dad, and made the picture in evening, I had to change the hair color and shoulder color a bit.
    Else it would be to dark for a guy standing infront of a burning world.
    Thanks for these great tutorials..
    Let’s keep em coming :)

    http://helldog2004.deviantart.com/art/New-era-411500502?ga_submit_new=10%253A1383560271

    • fanextra says:

      I can’t fault this Henk, this is incredible work! I absolutely love that you were able to use a family member within the design too, that’s awesome. What does your dad think of the design?

      We have a vast archive of tutorials for you to work through. Please let me know if you have any specific themes you’d like to tackle and I can point you in the right direction.

  5. Henk Rensenbrink says:

    Hey Tom,
    thanks for the credids.
    As a matter of fact he is using this picture as his desktop background, so I guess he likes it.

    About your archives and my projects.
    I have a couple of upcoming projects and one I am working on right now.
    I am trying to figure out how to make incredible wounds in the horse.
    Next project will for my wife her father, I want to make him look way older, don’t know yet how to do this (I do know how to make people younger and give them make-overs, but making em older is way harder I guess).
    And my third project will be for my wife or daughter, something with an angel in it.

    Thanks for all the suport.

    • fanextra says:

      Wow, those all sound like really interesting projects. Now that you’re an early adopter of our new forum, I would recommend posting the ideas in more detail there, and I can help you with the planning phases for these designs.

      Thanks!

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